The father of all racing divers who, like a modern Saturn, devoured his children
MODENA, 18 FEBRUARY 1898
MODENA, 4 JULY 1988
In addition to Rome, Assisi (Saint Franciscus) and San Giovanni Rotondo (Padre Pio), Italy has another place of pilgrimage, Maranello, an industrial city of 16,000 population near the city of Modena. In Maranello and the adjacent Fiorano, the Ferrari factories and the Ferrari race track are located. In the middle of this track there is a small residence where the automobile manufacturer, Enzo Ferrari, lived during the latter years of his long life. The streets of the little city wear the names of famous race drivers, the commercial school is named after Ferrari’s son, and the parish priest, Don Alberto Bernardone, rings the bells when the Ferrari team wins a Grand Prix. The Ferrari museum alone draws between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors each year.
In the souvenir shops you can find the race driver Schumacher in the form of a Barbie doll, but also an authentic Ferrari steering wheel (price: 6000 euros). One resident has specialised in reproducing scale models of famous F-1 accidents—to put on the mantel at home. Because Maranello is equated with Ferrari, the mayor has copyrighted the name of his city. Grand Prix races can be watched there by 20,000 viewers on a large screen.
All this is to honour the work of Enzo Ferrari, nicknamed Il Commendatore, ‘the monk of Maranello’ and ‘the pope of mechanical sport’, to stay with religious imagery. But ‘the king of motors’ and ‘the Stradivarius of the autosport’ can also be mentioned. Hundreds of books, often hagiographies, have been written about the man and his oeuvre. Ferrari not only made cars, for decenia he also built up his own myth. This is why Maranello has developed into a place of pilgrimage.